the logic of clover leaves

August 1, 2006

Research in Wales has come up with the startling conclusion that churchgoers in Britain are still highly superstitious and centuries of preaching the Gospel have failed to banish belief in omens and portents of good and bad luck. The Christian Church has, apparently, always been highly antagonistic towards superstition, on the grounds that it is irrational. According to the study, nearly all churchgoers admit to practising superstitious behaviour such as crossing their fingers for luck, touching wood for protection or throwing spilt salt over their left shoulder. About one quarter believed that it was lucky to find a four-leaf clover, to have a black cat cross their path and to see a money spider. A similar proportion believed that it was unlucky to open an umbrella indoors and a sixth believed that it was unlucky to pass someone on the stairs or walk under a ladder. Contrast these abject superstitions with the totally rational Christian beliefs in hellfire, angels, virgins having babies, dead guys walking and a mysterious being who is good and can do anything but is happy to allow murders, cancer and tsunamis . The researcher concludes: “those of us who occupy church pulpits and make assumptions about what is in the heads of people in the pews could benefit a lot from just sitting back and finding out what is really in their heads.” Personally, I think the less that is known about the contents of the heads of people sitting in church pews, the better. Anyway, if you start sitting back in a church pulpit you’re likely to fall out and, barring a miracle, break something more useful than your head.
Strange isn’t it that there aren’t places where people are lectured on the importance of believing in four-leaf clovers if they don’t want to burn in hell. neither are there old men in funny hats popping up on the tv on Sunday exhorting everyone to avoid walking under ladders. Yet in spite of this offical indifference if not hostility the good old superstitions carry on regardless.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: